Brighton is finalizing an agreement with Boca Juniors for versatile left-back Valentin Barco. The Seagulls are completing the deal by triggering the 19-year-old defender’s release clause of $10 million. The Premier League side had to move fairly quickly in the transfer because the aforementioned clause was set to soon rise. Brighton would have had to spend $14 million on Barco if they waited just another day.

The teen prospect was widely seen as Boca Juniors prized asset. Transfermarkt currently rates Barco as the club’s most valuable player, nearly $5 million more than any other former teammate. Brighton fought off interest from a plethora of English sides to sign the defender/midfielder. Chelsea, Manchester City, and Leicester City were all previously linked with the young Argentine.

A desired destination for youngsters

Brighton had an edge over their rivals because of various advantages. First of all, the South Coast club has solid scouting connections in South America. Brighton is a relatively new Premier League club. Still, there are currently five players from South America in the squad. This number will expand to seven once Steven Alzate (Colombia) and Jeremy Sarmiento (Ecuador) return from their loan deals.

The Seagulls also previously signed Ecuadoran midfielder Moises Caicedo back in 2021 as well. After developing the star, Brighton officials sold the dynamic player to Chelsea in a record $125 million deal this summer.

Along with having a strong presence near Barco’s country, Brighton also has a history of giving playing time to youngsters. The teen prospect would certainly have to be patient if he made a move to either Chelsea or City.

The Seagulls play an attractive style of soccer under manager Roberto De Zerbi as well. The Italian coach helped qualify his team for the Europa League at the end of the 2022/23 season. It was the first time that the club featured in a European competition. Brighton then advanced to the knockout round of the tournament by finishing top of their group back in December.

Valentin Barco can provide versatility for Brighton

Despite being just 19, Barco made 35 total appearances for Boca Juniors. Although typically a left back, the teen sensation can play in different positions. Barco featured in four different spots on the pitch throughout the 2023 campaign. He can play left back, left wing back, in the left side of midfield, in central midfield, and even out on the left flank.

This versatility surely caught the eye of Brighton officials. Star left-back Pervis Estupiñán is currently the only true left-back in the squad at the moment. Barco could be used as a backup to his fellow South American.

However, depending on how he settles in England, De Zerbi could also elect to play Barco further up the pitch. It remains unclear how involved the youngster will be in the current squad. Nevertheless, Brighton has lost a series of players to various injuries and could use reinforcements. Barco is going to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Seagulls. The club will also have an option to extend the deal another year as well.